Wednesday, 7 October 2009


Press release & image source: Triumph

The 50th anniversary of the iconic Triumph Bonneville was marked in spectacular style when four officially-recognized FIM world land speed records were set. The quadruple records were recorded at the 2009 edition of the event that gives the bike its name: the Bonneville speed trials.

The original Bonneville, introduced in 1959, was named after the record breaking streamlined Triumph that set numerous records at the Utah Salt Flats venue during the 1950s. To pay tribute, the internationally syndicated journalist Alan Cathcart took two highly-tuned examples of the latest Bonneville back to its spiritual birthplace at this year’s event, held between August 30 and September 3.

Riding a street-legal Thruxton Bonneville prepared by Matt Capri, owner of South Bay Triumph in California, Cathcart broke the 150mph barrier to set a new two-way FIM World Record for the flying mile at 152.678mph, and another for the flying kilometre at 152.770mph, with a best one-way speed of 153.150mph. These speeds set new marks for the FIM’s 1000cc Normally-Aspirated Twin-Cylinder Unstreamlined category.

In addition, Cathcart established two more new FIM world records for the 1000cc Forced Induction Twin-Cylinder Unstreamlined class, riding a turbocharged South Bay Triumph Bonneville with a two-way speed for the flying mile of 165.405mph, 165.672mph for the flying kilometre and a best one-way speed of 171.624 mph. The mile speed qualifies as a new AMA record too, with all records set by the air/oil-cooled parallel-twin British bikes subject to ratification by the relevant authorities.

Cathcart commented: “We’ve been coming to Bonneville since 2007 in preparation for this, the model’s 50th birthday year. Breaking the 150mph barrier with the standard bike was always our main objective, and when the FIM established the new twin-cylinder category for speed records, it was great that we could claim official world records by doing so. Maybe we’ll be back next year to try to join the 200mph club with it!”

The South Bay Triumphs were shod with Pirelli rain tyres supplied by the Italian tyre manufacturer’s road racing division, giving the riders the great traction which was key to achieving such record breaking speeds.

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